Vipassana Jhanas?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:08 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote:Please tell me if this is correct:

1. One starts by attending to the breath at either the abdomen or the nostri :woohoo: ls noting rise and fall and just following the breathing as it enters in and out.

2. After a establishing a settled type of conentration, one then dwells contemplating the body and various sensations that arise during it. You take that as an object and continue to focus on it.

3. This continues on with the four frames of mindfullness or aggregates.

Is this correct? And how exactly does one reach jhana with this method?

The idea is very vaugue to me but considering i find vipassana more....enjoyable if you will, I am still willing to pursue the jhanas, and the fact that I prefer these practices conjoined, not seperated.

With metta, mike

What you're describing here is almost exactly the definition of Anapanasati:
"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

If you like the idea of Vipassana/Samatha together instead of separated, then Ajahn Chah, Buddhadasa, and other Thai Forest Tradition teachers are far more up your alley than Mahasi, who, for better or for worse, is keen on the separation of the two.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Actually, Ven Thanissaro probably is not the best critic of the Burmese vipassana practice. Taking into account the vipassana jhanas, which, in fact, we should do, we see that the vipasana Mahasi Sayadaw type of practice is not as "dry" as it is sometimes portrayed as being. Also, again, a fundamental issue is what is meant by jhana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:11 am

U Pandita defines what he calls vipassana jhana in In This Very Life in this chapter:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... hanas.html
However you have to scroll down to the heading Jhana...

His definition is that the jhānic factors are present, and also some insight:
... [first four jhānic factors] ...
When these first four jhānic factors are present, the mind automatically becomes calm and peaceful, able to concentrate on what is happening without getting scattered or dispersed. This one-pointedness of mind is the fifth jhānic factor, samādhi, or concentration.

It is not sufficient to have all five factors present for one to say one has attained the first vipassanā jhāna. The mind must also come to penetrate into the Dhamma a little bit, enough to see the interrelationship of mind and matter. At this time we say that access to the first vipassanā jhāna has occurred.

A yogi whose mind is composed of these five jhānic factors will experience a new accuracy of mindfulness, a new level of success in sticking with the object. Intense rapture, happiness and comfort in the body may also arise. This could be the occasion for him or her to gloat over the wondrousness of the meditation practice. “Oh wow, I’m getting really precise and accurate. I even feel like I’m floating in the air!” You might recognize this reflection as a moment of attachment.

I think that this description is useful in as much as it points out that "vipassana medition" isn't "thinking about stuff", but is about building up mindfulness and samadhi (since samadhi is essential to to insight), and samadhi requires the jhana factors.

So, as I understand it, these "vipassana" methods, are the development of samadhi and vipassana in tandem, certainly not the separation...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:16 am

PS, it seems likely to me that what the Commentaries refer to as "access concentration" (which is stated to be necessary for insight in the Visuddhimagga, for example) is what U Pandita is talking about. Enough development of the jhana factors to keep the hindrances at bay...

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:Actually, Ven Thanissaro probably is not the best critic of the Burmese vipassana practice.

I'm not necessarily supporting anything Thanissaro says; although I'm sure I agree with the Venerable more than you do on some issues, I'm by no means a defender of him.

Taking into account the vipassana jhanas, which, in fact, we should do, we see that the vipasana Mahasi Sayadaw type of practice is not as "dry" as it is sometimes portrayed as being. Also, again, a fundamental issue is what is meant by jhana.

As far as I can tell, the very concept of a "Vipassana" Jhana is just a reaction to the relegation of "normal" Jhana to a purely samatha practice, something that is clearly not seen in the Suttas. Every definition of "Vipassana Jhana" I've ever come across seems to just be a less structured Anapanasati, perhaps with a slightly stronger emphasis on the last tetrad. Am I missing something? I'll listen to the talks later.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:39 am

Dear members,

Please focus on the needs of the OP in this discussion which is focused on advice regarding that person's meditative practice.
The validity of 'vipassana jhanas' or their efficacy are beyond the scope of this thread.
Any further off-topic posts will be removed from view without warning.
Thanks for your cooperation.

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:59 am

Thank you all for the support. I do agree that this is an important matter to discuss. However, after looking at the distinction of Vipassana Jhana or Buddhaghosas version, that barrier seems artifical. Though I am more inclined to Mahasis way of doing it, I do feel Thanissaro has been influential in my practice though I dont reccomend his manipulation of the breath.

I really cant provide any serious input on this issue due to the lack of my theoretical and practical knowlege surrounding it.

With metta, mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:05 am

Mike,

If you are inclined towards Mahasi-style vipassana - go for it.
Come what may, painful sensations, pleasurable sensations or neutral sensations - just give it your all for at least a year.
Practice under the guidance of a teacher or an experienced kalayanamitta, and attend residential retreats when you can.
After a year - if you feel that it has been of benefit to you - continue with it.
with metta,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:08 am

Ben wrote:Mike,

If you are inclined towards Mahasi-style vipassana - go for it.
Come what may, painful sensations, pleasurable sensations or neutral sensations - just give it your all for at least a year.
Practice under the guidance of a teacher or an experienced kalayanamitta, and attend residential retreats when you can.
After a year - if you feel that it has been of benefit to you - continue with it.
with metta,

Ben



Well said. I believe its best not to worry what method your using, only the outcome and its benefits should they be judged on. And as for a teacher, that is going to be extremely difficult due such restricted conditions.

With metta, mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby ignobleone » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:18 am

Micheal Kush wrote:Hey everyone, after reading much material delving into the methodological systems of Jhana and Vipassana, I've decided to combine them resembling Mahasi Sadyaws style of teaching. However, I am helplessly confused on how to do it or where to start.

Hi Michael, hopefully some people who are also confused won't make you even more confused :)

Please tell me if this is correct:

1. One starts by attending to the breath at either the abdomen or the nostri :woohoo: ls noting rise and fall and just following the breathing as it enters in and out.

2. After a establishing a settled type of conentration, one then dwells contemplating the body and various sensations that arise during it. You take that as an object and continue to focus on it.

3. This continues on with the four frames of mindfullness or aggregates.

Is this correct? And how exactly does one reach jhana with this method?

The idea is very vague to me but considering i find vipassana more....enjoyable if you will, I am still willing to pursue the jhanas, and the fact that I prefer these practices conjoined, not seperated.

It's important for you to understand your goal of learning Buddhism and know why you want to pursue the jhanas. The thread's title suggest you don't have sufficient clue. There are four developments of samadhi you can choose. 1) The development of samadhi which leads to pleasant abiding in here and know (involving jhanas.) 2) The development of samadhi which (imo) has very limited reference. 3) The development of samadhi which leads to mindfulness and alertness, and 4) The development of samadhi which leads to elimination of effluents. The last two have almost similar description. I think vipassana meditation related/refers to those two. It's good for you if you can relate any of the four to your goal.

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:29 am

ignobleone wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote:Hey everyone, after reading much material delving into the methodological systems of Jhana and Vipassana, I've decided to combine them resembling Mahasi Sadyaws style of teaching. However, I am helplessly confused on how to do it or where to start.

Hi Michael, hopefully some people who are also confused won't make you even more confused :)

Please tell me if this is correct:

1. One starts by attending to the breath at either the abdomen or the nostri :woohoo: ls noting rise and fall and just following the breathing as it enters in and out.

2. After a establishing a settled type of conentration, one then dwells contemplating the body and various sensations that arise during it. You take that as an object and continue to focus on it.

3. This continues on with the four frames of mindfullness or aggregates.

Is this correct? And how exactly does one reach jhana with this method?

The idea is very vague to me but considering i find vipassana more....enjoyable if you will, I am still willing to pursue the jhanas, and the fact that I prefer these practices conjoined, not seperated.

It's important for you to understand your goal of learning Buddhism and know why you want to pursue the jhanas. The thread's title suggest you don't have sufficient clue. There are four developments of samadhi you can choose. 1) The development of samadhi which leads to pleasant abiding in here and know (involving jhanas.) 2) The development of samadhi which (imo) has very limited reference. 3) The development of samadhi which leads to mindfulness and alertness, and 4) The development of samadhi which leads to elimination of effluents. The last two have almost similar description. I think vipassana meditation related/refers to those two. It's good for you if you can relate any of the four to your goal.


Thanks for the advice. I am completely clear on what my goal is, its just which is the path that I want to take and I picked this style of practice. All I needed was a head start on what to do. And even analyzing this thread, it displays a sense of uncertianty regarding what Jhana is or how do each of these methods work. Nevertheless, I'll try and I'll try till and see what happens.

Thank you, mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:30 am

Micheal Kush wrote:
Ben wrote:Mike,

If you are inclined towards Mahasi-style vipassana - go for it.
Come what may, painful sensations, pleasurable sensations or neutral sensations - just give it your all for at least a year.
Practice under the guidance of a teacher or an experienced kalayanamitta, and attend residential retreats when you can.
After a year - if you feel that it has been of benefit to you - continue with it.
with metta,

Ben



Well said. I believe its best not to worry what method your using, only the outcome and its benefits should they be judged on. And as for a teacher, that is going to be extremely difficult due such restricted conditions.

With metta, mike


One thing to try to keep in mind - just attend to the meditation object.
As for a teacher - try www.buddhanet.net to see what Theravadin centres or viharas are close to where you live.
Ven Pesala, who contributes here regularly, might be able to give you some one-on-one guidance if you approach him.
with metta,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

Micheal Kush
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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:31 am

Ben wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote:
Ben wrote:Mike,

If you are inclined towards Mahasi-style vipassana - go for it.
Come what may, painful sensations, pleasurable sensations or neutral sensations - just give it your all for at least a year.
Practice under the guidance of a teacher or an experienced kalayanamitta, and attend residential retreats when you can.
After a year - if you feel that it has been of benefit to you - continue with it.
with metta,

Ben



Well said. I believe its best not to worry what method your using, only the outcome and its benefits should they be judged on. And as for a teacher, that is going to be extremely difficult due such restricted conditions.

With metta, mike


One thing to try to keep in mind - just attend to the meditation object.
As for a teacher - try http://www.buddhanet.net to see what Theravadin centres or viharas are close to where you live.
Ven Pesala, who contributes here regularly, might be able to give you some one-on-one guidance if you approach him.
with metta,

Ben


Thanks for the link. Defintely check it out.

With metta, mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:53 am

Hi Michael,
Micheal Kush wrote:Thanks for the advice. I am completely clear on what my goal is, its just which is the path that I want to take and I picked this style of practice. All I needed was a head start on what to do. And even analyzing this thread, it displays a sense of uncertianty regarding what Jhana is or how do each of these methods work. Nevertheless, I'll try and I'll try till and see what happens.

I hope this discussion didn't introduce any unnecessary doubt. I think that if you look at how various ancient and modern teachers describe techniques and phenomena, rather than focussing on the terminology, many of the apparent differences become irrelevant. [Much like the story Ajahn Brahm sometimes tells about the husband and wife who are arguing about whether a particular bird is a duck or a chicken... :tongue:]

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Vipassana Jhanas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:24 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Michael,
Micheal Kush wrote:Thanks for the advice. I am completely clear on what my goal is, its just which is the path that I want to take and I picked this style of practice. All I needed was a head start on what to do. And even analyzing this thread, it displays a sense of uncertianty regarding what Jhana is or how do each of these methods work. Nevertheless, I'll try and I'll try till and see what happens.

I hope this discussion didn't introduce any unnecessary doubt. I think that if you look at how various ancient and modern teachers describe techniques and phenomena, rather than focussing on the terminology, many of the apparent differences become irrelevant. [Much like the story Ajahn Brahm sometimes tells about the husband and wife who are arguing about whether a particular bird is a duck or a chicken... :tongue:]

:anjali:
Mike


This was actually my initial concern. Though I am inclined to Mahasi style, when I searched for the methods integrating jhana and vipassana I didnt see much difference. There was still an attending to the objrct except with the addition of noting other objects as well and realizing the impermanence, selflessness, and suffering of it.

I am surely certian of my goal and my practice and I'll take Bens advice to just go for it and see how it plays.

With metta, mike


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